During a book interview tonight on modern-day great companies, the author/professor asked about the relative importance of MBAs to EMC.
The answer, delivered by an EVP, made me smile -- as it supported my own observations.
The answer was, "We don't get hung up on MBAs or other such trappings here."
Contrast that Real-World Answer with this:
Two twenty-somethings shared with me in the past six months news that they were going to quit their well-paying jobs -- jobs where they were well-respected and thriving -- to go to grad school.
"Why?! I hope it isn't to meet some societal impression that you're not worthy until you have an MBA or a Law Degree," is what I wanted to say.
What it is like where I work.
At EMC, I have found that you get respected for what you bring to the table. Once you're in the door, we don't care about what school you went to, your major, or the degree you obtained. We look at how you think, how you solve, and how you make things happen.
If you have to learn something new, we expect you to do that. If you want to get even smarter than smart on a subject, we love that too. In fact, we make it easy to do this -- we have the #1 learning and education offerings in the world in high tech. (Training 125 results places EMC in the top 5 rankings across all industries, globally, for the past 3 years.) At HQ, we even offer an on-site MBA taught by Northeastern.
If you think an MBA will earn you a ticket to greatness, I think you are likely mistaken.
If you're thinking about how to get ahead and perform better, consider looking first at "the diamonds under your feet." Network and volunteer to work on projects where you can learn more. Seek out people who can teach you things. Take a course at the company university. Use their tuition reimbursement offerings, if they have them (EMC reimburses $10K per year.)
If you're wondering if you should quit, and presumably get in debt, to get an extra degree -- please ask yourself "why am I really doing this?"
When I went to look for some stats on this subject (via near all-knowing and quick Google), all the data seemed a bit dated, none caused me to change my mind.
Granted, if you don't have a job and feel you have no hope for finding a job in today's market, that could be another discussion. The EVP in tonight's interview also added that he believed MBAs are more worthwhile once the person had been out of school for a few years (and could better appreciate and apply the information.)
---------------- Talk Back -----------------
If someone is performing exceptionally well, before you give them a raise or a new assignment, do you check and see if they have an MBA?
Full disclosure: I do not have an MBA. I have taken advanced education courses at Harvard, MIT, IMD, Boston College, Duke, The Center for Creative Leadership, Babson, and EMC's University. Of these, a week-long, "Sustaining High Performance" class with my global company peers at IMD in Switzerland, and a week-long "C-level" course at The Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado (were I was in a small class with a 4-star General, a CIO, and a few CEOs), were my stand-out favorites. My best education continues to come from being part of this place, where my brain cells get to hop about in an espresso-like caffeinated state daily (and I get to benefit from the MBAs and PhD's I get to work alongside of!).
- Polly Pearson